The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Archive for July 2013

Your Government Wants Your Passwords

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big brother wants your passwordsThe federal government has demanded that major internet companies turn over users’ stored passwords, according to CNet, a highly respected tech website.

CNet is calling this an “escalation” in internet surveillance by the federal government.

So what does this escalation mean exactly?

“If the government is able to determine a person’s password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user,” the report says. “Obtaining it also would aid in deciphering encrypted devices in situations where passwords are reused.”

If that’s not concerning enough your government not only wants your passwords, but it also wants algorithms and security questions regarding those passwords.

Some of the government orders demand not only a user’s password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt, according to a person familiar with the requests. A salt is a random string of letters or numbers used to make it more difficult to reverse the encryption process and determine the original password. Other orders demand the secret question codes often associated with user accounts.

So far these have only been requests and so far the companies receiving the requests are fighting them. But most of the big internet companies like Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo declined to comment in the CNet article or provide any specifics concerning the requests.  Apple, Facebook, AOL, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast did not respond to queries about whether they have received requests for users’ passwords and how they would respond to them.

The FBI declined to comment.

The question is can you protect your private communications and information if the Feds do get access? The CNet author seemed to provide a little bit of advice, whether intentional or not is hard to say. He said longer passwords that contain odd characters are much harder to discover even with an algorithm.

One popular algorithm, used by Twitter and LinkedIn, is called bcrypt. A 2009 paper (PDF) by computer scientist Colin Percival estimated that it would cost a mere $4 to crack, in an average of one year, an 8-character bcrypt password composed only of letters. To do it in an average of one day, the hardware cost would jump to approximately $1,500.

But if a password of the same length included numbers, asterisks, punctuation marks, and other special characters, the cost-per-year leaps to $130,000. Increasing the length to any 10 characters, Percival estimated in 2009, brings the estimated cracking cost to a staggering $1.2 billion.

There are times where law enforcement may need this kind of information when investigating a crime, however those instances should be handled case by case and only in accordance with local, state, and federal law.  I’m of the opinion that once you break the law you begin to lose privileges.  That’s by choice.  This situation ignores choice, rights, and the freedoms of law abiding citizens if indeed blanket access to passwords is provided.

If you’re uncomfortable with this story, and I think everyone should be, call your congressional representatives and senators and let them know this is unacceptable.  Ask them if they are aware of these requests.  Ask them to explain the depth and detail if indeed they are aware.  But most of all let them know YOU’RE AWARE.

 

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Bad Passport Forgery? No Worries You Get 2 More Tries!

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Forging a passport is a federal crime.

Yet for some reason the Senate immigration bill created by the Gang of 8 has language in it allowing three forgeries to be made before a crime is committed.

Yep, the bill, which passed the Senate 68-32 with 14 Republicans voting in favor, would essentially change the current law from one forgery per crime to three.

Why? Well, perhaps we should ask Senator John McCain (R-AZ) that question.  CNSNews.com did and guess what? He didn’t know. A prominent member of the Gang of Eight who wrote the bill was clueless, as was Senator Marco Rubio.

Now who in the world added that provision?  Was there any discussion about it?  Who was in on the discussion?  What exactly was the discussion or the thought process that led to a decision to give people 3 shots at getting their forgery right before being punished?  Do those sound like fair questions?  Is anyone in the major media asking them?  Does the MSM even know about this interesting provision?

ganfof8Who will ask the others in the “Gang?  Who will ask Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Schumer (D-AZ), Richard Durbin (D-ILL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) about this odd item and why they thought it was a good idea?

On Capitol Hill on Wednesday [July 17, 2013], CNSNews.com approached McCain, “Senator McCain, can I ask you a question about the Senate immigration bill? Under the bill, how many passports can someone forge before it becomes a crime?”

McCain said, “You’re going to have to ask our folks that, I don’t think that we stand for any forgeries.”  Let me get this straight.  McCain a signer on the bill doesn’t know but his “Folks” might and he doesn’t THINK his group stands for forgery.  Maybe the folks know the answer to that one too…

CNSNews.com followed-up, “Can you tell me why that would be part of the bill in the first place?”  McCain answered, “ I cannot tell you that it is part of the bill.”  And the “folks” in Washington DC wonder why their approval rating is in the teens?

Well Senator let me help you and your folks. On Page 777 the legislation states, “any person who, during any period of 3 years or less, knowingly – (1) and without lawful authority produces, issues, or transfers 3 or more passports; (2) forges, counterfeits, alters, or falsely makes 3 or more passports; (3) secures, possesses, uses, receives, buys, sells, or distributes 3 or more passports, knowing the passports to be forged, counterfeited, altered, falsely made, stolen, procured by fraud, or produced or issued without lawful authority; or (4) completes, mails, prepares, presents, signs, or submits 3 or more applications for a United States passport, knowing the applications to contain any materially false statement or representation, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.” Source CNS News

Crazy how bizarre items like this pop up in these hastily penned laws isn’t it?

When the question was put to Rubio two days later, he said forgery is a federal crime. He was then informed of Section 3707 of the immigration bill (S. 744) titled, “Reform of Passport, Visa and Immigration Fraud Offenses.” It makes no mention of any “waivers, but it does specifically amend Section 1541 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, which currently requires criminal penalties for issuing “any” unauthorized passports. As amended by S. 744–the Senate immigration bill Rubio co-sponsored–a person would not be dealt criminal penalties until they forged “three or more passports.” Source: CNS News

I’m no sleuth but it appears this provision allows anyone trying to get into the country illegally with a forged passport, two extra tries if caught.

We truly are a caring nation.

Telling the Emperor He’s Naked OR Saying What Others are Afraid to.

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Sometimes when Bill O’Reilly speaks I find myself shaking my head in disbelief and disagreement.  Other times my nodding is profuse and fervent in the positive.

Regardless of what you personally think of Bill O’Reilly, the man isn’t afraid to say what he thinks and more often than not what others are likely thinking but are too afraid to say themselves.

So it is with his Talking Points segment on the O’Reilly Factor Monday night following President Obama’s second speech on the Trayvon Martin case and race in America.

Personally, I felt the President injected himself into the Zimmerman case haphazardly and recklessly when he made his first statement prior to the trial or any presentation of evidence in the case.  I felt he unnecessarily created more angst and bitterness with his unbalanced remarks which made it appear the president had taken sides and with no thought toward the presumption of innocence until proven guilty by a court of law with regard to George Zimmerman.

This second speech was more tempered and calculated than the first but still failed, in my opinion, to root out the main cause for the tensions and problems that exist with regard to race in America today and failed to acknowledge the core reasons for the problems that plague the African American community.  He ignored them, played the blame game, and did little to ease the tensions of which he spoke.

I’ve long held the belief that the disintegration of the family has led to more problems in society than any other failure and that includes the black community.  I still hold that belief and apparently Bill O’Reilly sees it that way too.  Fix that problem and many many other problems go away.  It’s not a panacea but it is a huge part of the cure.

Of course in the days following this monologue the excuse makers and placaters have come out in droves.

The Royal Court is not pleased at having its leader’s bareness outed.

Written by DCL

July 24, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Detroit For Dummys

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Detroit, Michigan.

My family nearly moved there in the late 60’s.  My father was offered a very good job, salary, and benefits with one caveat; that he pick up and move his family to the Motor City.  I don’t know all the reasons behind my dad’s decision to turn that high paying job down, but he did and we stayed in Happy Valley (that would be Utah County).

Detroit became the largest municipality to declare bankruptcy in the United States this past week.

How did a city that once held the highest per capita income rate in the nation, become a ghost of its once great self?

I’ll let Steven Crowder explain.

 

Why is this country so blind to the blatant results of decades of governance by the left?  Detroit is just one unavoidable example of the failures of leftist ideology when it comes to governing.  Do we have to wait for California to follow suit?

 

Written by DCL

July 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Barry Soetoro is Registered to Vote

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For those who say voter fraud is rare and doesn’t effect elections, I share this interesting tidbit that should at least cause those of that opinion to think about it a little more.  No, this isn’t proof of a mass conspiracy of voter fraud, but I think it shows just how easy it is to register a fraudulent vote.  Unless, of course the president is going back to his old name at his new address…

This is a screen capture from the District of Columbia Board of Elections website.

Barry Soetoro registered to vote?

According to a search at the D.C. Board of elections using the search terms Barry Soetoro, President Obama’s date of birth and the zip code of 20500, a registered voter of that name is registered to vote at the White House for D.C. elections.  Barry Soetoro is a name that President Obama has used in the past.

Did President Obama submit this registration, or is it a fraud?  Who knows?  Obtaining the actual registration forms (or on-line) submitted to the D.C. election’s board might answer the question.  In my view, it is worse if it is a fraud because it illustrates the ease at which one can trick the system.  Or perhaps, President Obama wants out of crime-infested Chicago after his term is up and registered using his old name.  I’ll go with option 1, the fraud.

Written by DCL

July 19, 2013 at 10:24 am

“Hate is Too Great a Burden to Bear”

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“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Zimmerman Verdict AftermathRemember when the media blamed Sarah Palin for a mass shooting in Arizona and the wounding of a member of congress, because she used the word “crosshairs” on a campaign map? This would be the same media that described the lawlessness of the Occupy Wall Street debacle as “mostly peaceful”. And now this same media is trying to persuade you the viewer that the anti-Zimmerman protests, some of which are being fanned by an NBC News anchor and MSNBC flame thrower Al Sharpton, as also being”mostly-peaceful.”

Here is a non-comprehensive list of acts of violence, vandalism, assaults, arrests, etc., which have been reported by various media outlets.

You’ll notice in many of these reports that the local media is very good at reporting the incident, but the national media is not so good at connecting the dots. You will not get the full story on the aftermath of this verdict. You will not see Brian Williams providing comprehensive coverage of the hundreds (and likely soon to be thousands) of incidents like these directly connected to the Zimmerman verdict.

That doesn’t fit the narrative that has been perpetuated, though thoroughly proven wrong by the trial, and pushed by the major media from day one.  And the media CAN’T be wrong…

I have a good friend who is sincerely troubled by the verdict. He is hurting, as a black male, frustrated and feeling like many other black men, that they too, at certain times in their lives, could have been Trayvon.  Although I struggle to see this court’s decision from his perspective, I have no doubt my friend is just as appalled as I am by the acts of some in the name of that young man.

I don’t believe these acts are being perpetrated or advocated by a majority in the black community, but they are happening none the less. I hope vocal leaders in that community will come out and denounce the criminal acts taking place and call for the methods of Martin Luther King, of non-violent protest.

The NAACP is meeting in Florida right now. Leaders, you have your opportunity.

How will you handle it?


1. July 14: Witness claims Hispanic man beaten by youths yelling, “This is for Trayvon.”
2. July 16: Jogger in Mississippi claims he was attacked in retaliation for Zimmerman verdict
3. July 16: Pennsylvania business graffitied with ‘Kill Zimmerman,’ set on fire
4. July 16: Wisconsin man claims he was beaten by teens shouting, “This is for Trayvon.”
5. July 15: Anti-Zimmerman protesters block freeway traffic in Los Angeles
6. July 15: Anti-Zimmerman protester raid a Walmart in Los Angeles
7. July 16: CBS reporter assaulted in Crenshaw during anti-Zimmerman protest
8. July 15: Anti-Zimmerman protester block major intersection in Newark, NJ
9. July 16: Thirteen arrested in Crenshaw for vandalizing cars and stores, assault
10. July 16: Waiter struck in head with a hammer
11. July 16: Windows broken at Men’s Wearhouse
12. July 15: Store window spray-painted with word “revolt”
13. July 13: New York Giants star threatens Zimmerman
14. July 14: ‘Wire’ creator David Simon says he’d bring a brick to Zimmerman courthouse
15. July 14: Singer attacked after dedicating song to Trayvon Martin
16. July 13: Teen arrested in Zion, Illinois for threatening violence
17. July 13: Gallery of death threats against George Zimmerman
18. July 15: “Kill Zimmerman” Facebook page removed
19. July 14: Man lights marijuana cigarette off burnt American flag
20. July 15: Dozen arrested in New York protest
21. July 15: New York protesters block traffic
22. July 16: Houston protesters block traffic

Now imagine the media coverage if this were the Tea Party or white Americans reacting to a guilty verdict with similar actions.

Links found at Breitbart.com

Lady Justice Wears a Blindfold for a Reason

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I haven’t watched the George Zimmerman trial.

Geroge Zimmerman trial I, like most folks, have been following the trial via reporting from multiple media sources and from all slants. One common theme coming from reporters and pundits alike points to a very real possibility of violence should the verdict of not guilty be handed down by the jury.

After the OJ Simpson trial this kind of reaction to high profile, racially charged, court cases comes as no surprise, but that doesn’t take away from the sad reality that we live in a time where a sizable portion of the American public is not interested in the model our justice system was based upon. Too many people see vigilante justice as the way to go. The more interesting and ironic side to Zimmerman trial is that those who would have you believe they are the most compassionate, tolerant, and fair among us are the ones crying the loudest for this vigilante style partiality.

The side that will not accept any verdict but a guilty verdict. The side that has been inciting and threatening violence since the day after Treyvon Martin was killed. The side that wanted to hang George Zimmerman before any due process was provided or a day in court set. That side is the side of the liberal left.

Democrats, liberals, and progressives, in the public, media, and even governmental office, have attempted to label Zimmerman as White, conservative, and racist. I have yet to see any hard evidence of any of those claims. In fact, the evidence on Zimmerman’s race and ideology were put to bed when his voter registration stated Hispanic and Democrat. A local news report in Sanford, Florida confirmed Zimmerman as a self-described Democrat. Racist? NO pattern of such behavior has been shown that I am aware of.

The irony here is that those from the conservative or federalist viewpoint are defending one minority’s constitutional rights from another minority’s lynch mob mentality. The latter of which, the GOP freed from slavery 150 years ago. An interesting, but telling aside, is that zero democrats voted for the 14th Amendment back then. Today, there’s no major outcry of support for Zimmerman’s constitutional rights from the left. Let that fully sink in. Contrastingly, there has been no outcry, threat, or appeal for violence coming from the right if Zimmerman is in fact found guilty.

It’s as if things haven’t changed at all in 150 years within the Democrats’ ranks.

Here’s my point: true conservatives are so passionate about American liberty, they will staunchly defend the constitutional rights of those who don’t share their political ideology and they do it en masse. They believe that Due Process is greater than tyranny and lynch mobs. The behavior coming from the left is a stark example of just the opposite.

Not much has changed in the last 150 years.

Written by DCL

July 12, 2013 at 11:05 am